In Memory and Appreciation: Bob Anderson

Resource Renewal Institute and Defense of Place mourn the tragic October 11 loss of Bob Anderson, a co-founder of the Washoe Meadows Community and a nationally known and influential conservationist.

Mr. Anderson, a resident of Meyers, Calif., was on a 70th birthday celebration trip through Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park when the safari vehicle rolled over, fatally injuring him and wounding his wife Grace.

His commitment to the Washoe Meadows Community and the campaign to save Washoe Meadows State Park in South Lake Tahoe began in 2006 when he sounded early alarms over California State Parks’ proposed Upper Truckee River Restoration and Golf Course Reconfiguration Project. His published comments cited the plan’s environmental and economic flaws; the breach of legal protection for Washoe Meadows State Park; and, lack of a public process. His analysis was prescient, for the Washoe Meadows Community recently won a court ruling that State Parks and the Park Commission failed to act with accountability and transparency and failed to comply with California’s CEQA laws when it approved the Upper Truckee Restoration Project and Golf Course Reconfiguration Project in October 2011; a second lawsuit is pending.

Mr. Anderson avidly supported the ongoing opposition by Defense of Place to the state’s unprecedented downgrade of Washoe Meadows State Park. He criticized the euphemistic “boundary adjustment” to expand the golf course across the river into the park as inconsistent with the statute that established Washoe Meadows, and noted that the project had improperly morphed from a river restoration project to a de facto park plan with bias toward golf.

Mr. Anderson’s career-long conservation activism focused on reaching consensus among all stakeholders while emphasizing the priority of preserving lands held in the Public Trust.

In addition to his contributions to the Washoe Meadows Community, he most recently was chair of the Tahoe Area Sierra Club and active in many California conservation efforts. A longtime resident of Montana, he contributed to winning 1978 Congressional designation of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness located in Wyoming and Montana. He was on the board of the Pacific Rivers Council and had previously been president of the Montana Wilderness Association and executive director of the Great Yellowstone Coalition. Mr. Anderson served as an energy consultant with a focus on renewable resources and conservation in the West’s electric utility sector.

Lynne Paulson, chair of the Washoe Meadows Community, said, “We are more determined than ever to honor Bob’s vision and intention to protect Washoe Meadows State Park and any state park from downgrades that would allow improper development and violate the values that are part of State Parks’ mission to protect park resources for present and future generations.”

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